Old age is often associated with loneliness. This emanates from various obvious reasons: retirement from active professional life, distance from earlier friends / colleagues, and moving away of the sons / daughters to different places as they grow young. Loss of the spouse may be the ultimate blow. All these eventual realities make the elders lonely, aloof from the busy world and they often tend to limit their movements and lose interest in going out not only because of their physical immobility but also loss of general interest or appetite to do something new or innovative.
This construct of mental loneliness is one of the dreaded realities being faced by many elders. The only way to come out of the same is to have mental resolve and make new ways of living life.
Music as a Good Companion:
Here comes the importance of music which can have a soothing effect on both body and mind. It can keep an elderly, in good mood, engaged, involved, through rekindling old happy memories of youth, and rejuvenating the energy level.
In brief, music can help an elder what any 'good companionship' can do through radiating positive energy waves. A world of music is thus the best friend for an elderly person.
Music therapy and related activities for elders have thus become universally accepted treatments for the elders who suffer from anxiety or depression. On being exposed to musical tunes by the caregivers or themselves, elders start enjoying the moments and feel happy.
Exposure to music helps in reduction of blood pressure, reduced heart rate and relaxed muscle tension.
Active Music Therapy:
Elders can also learn how to sing or play a musical instrument, and this works as active music therapy. It creates a new purpose of life and keep them busy.
Finally, they can demonstrate their newly acquired talent in some public forum like senior citizen clubs where they are members and that gives them immense satisfaction of doing something new. At My Retired Life Foundation (MRLF), we started this experimentation of encouraging our members to sing songs / play instruments after learning. We gave them opportunity to showcase their talent once a month. We started with only 6 to 7 members.
And today there are more than 45 members who are active members of the musical groups, ready & eager to display their musical talent. Not that they have become great singers; but the very fact that are able to showcase their musical talent in front of their elderly friends is, by itself, a great matter of satisfaction as well as pride. This also keeps the members busy for the entire month to practice the song they are going to sing next time.
Besides the sense of enjoyment, it also improves social cohesion and sense of comradeship among like-minded elders.
Music is thus, an effective tool not only to keep one busy but also to be in companion with it either on a passive mode (listening to music) or active mode (singing a song).
In this technologically driven world, one just needs tool like a laptop or YouTube channel or Karaoke or similar other facilities to listen to or learn music. What it means is that listening to music or learning skills of singing a song in today’s world is not a difficult proposition. What it needs a resolve to do so.
Elders must appreciate the power of the 'World of Music' that can change their way of life. Music brings the love, romance, happy remembrances of the past and rhythms of joyful living. Elders should try to develop music as their most 'active partners' that can provide them, the joy of life they want, for a graceful aging.
(By Dr A K Sen Gupta, Chief Trustee of My Retired Life Foundation (MRLF). He may be contacted at email@example.com or 9821128103.)
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